Allowing for a transformative experience

I asked Elizabeth why she thought we do what we do and what we hope to teach in our upcoming workshop.  I am moved by what she wrote:

“I went on a walk and tried to get words around it. It’s hard because it involves a way of thinking about life as well as a way to practically get more art into every day.

What we’ve been able to figure out with practice has to do with allowing for pleasure, for contemplation, for meditation, for beauty, for, and I believe this with my whole heart, a transformative experience.

What we are really doing when we draw every day is to see and interpret and transform our experience of the everyday. Elevating it and us with it. “

In an ideal world I would have worked a bit longer at this sketch, found more information, this is what I made with the time I had.

This is a corner of my Dad’s study at the Jackson House, it gives a taste of the density of stuff in his house.  I like the contrast between interior and exterior and the pice of pottery thrills me.

Here is a link to our quick sketch workshop in the DC area April 28&29.

Sketching on the spot: Sweet Peas


Today I visited the Floral Reserve in Providence -Gorgeous Plants!- and eventually calmed down enough to sketch (with the tiny paintbox on 6″x6″ hot press watercolor paper). Many thanks to Brianna for welcoming me into the space. These are Japanese Sweet Peas (I had a hard time keeping to their gentle palette).

It is such a pleasure scouting locations for roving watercolor classes, these mini field trips liberate me from my routine and introduce me to the city in which I live.

My next watercolor course focuses on botanicals and runs April 26-May17.  Click here for more information and registration.

2018 Moveable Paintbox Workshop! April 28 and 29, Washington Dc

Margaret and I have hatched a new workshop.  We’ll demonstrate and teach our method for painting and drawing on the spot.

Workshop schedule:
Saturday, April 28, 1-5PM, McLean, VA  and  Sunday, April 29 from  11AM-2PM National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC

Saturday’s portion of the workshop will be held at a private 17th-century farmhouse filled with interesting objects. On Sunday we will visit the National Gallery of Art and sketch from the collection.

 Information and registration here.


After Bonnard
The Jackson House
After Vuillard


Statehouse Christmas Tree Class demos and advice



Demos from watercolor class at the RI Statehouse yesterday.


A bit of advice for Christmas tree painting in watercolor:

Start with the bright decorations, this will help keep them light.  Tree afterward or around.  Addingdecorations on top of the painted tree will make them dark as you’ve already lost the light of the page.

Below is a christmas tree from my sketchbook. I’ve included it to show the above practice (start with the decorations and keep them light) and to point out that the warmth and light in this one comes as much from the overall dark values of the foliage and the background as from bright decorations.


Peruvian Retablo at peaceable kingdom

From a wonderful art class at Peaceable Kingdom on Ives St. in Providence.  Joan and her husband have a fabulous collection from around the globe.  It was hard to settle down and sketch one thing but I managed with this …are you ready? dog party retablo.  Can you believe it?  I think it might be my bravest sketch ever, small endeavor that it was.  I love my paint box, not because it allows me to capture what I am seeing but because it helps me enjoy it, and life, more.dp2646_1.jpeg

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we started with color swatches
Peruvian Retablo from Peaceable Kingdom

Sketching workshop at Bryant

Photos and demo sketches from a workshop at Bryant U for a Creativity and the Arts course taught by Joan Zaretti.  The students were fabulous! We went over guidelines for drawing from art. (Like the thumbnail sketching tutorial here.) We worked from university portraits but also tackled Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa, Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, as well as a Cezanne and a Monet from the RISD Museum collection.

I found the work of Suzanne Hodes in the Bryant art collection and had trouble pulling myself away.